The storms, once again, took hold last week in the South West and around the Thames, and the news channels and papers were filled with photos of wild weather, satellite imagery of incoming violent wind and rain, and the miserable faces of people whose homes had been devastated.
But while the media were training cameras on people wading through waist-high waters or being evacuated on dinghies, there were other situations occurring that required more complex solutions. And it was often nurses who found those solutions.
We’ve spoken to nurses involved in planning the evacuation of care homes at risk from flooding. Many of their residents have complex health conditions that require full-time nursing care; they also need somewhere safe to live and be looked after.
We have also spoken to district nurses who have driven through floodwater to reach their patients in communities that have been cut off. Those nurses understand that their patients still need their medication, nursing and treatment, whatever else is happening.
There are more tales of nurses’ all-weather heroism on page 2. It’s an impressive list of achievements - nurses always show their resilience when the roads are buried under snow or the winds fell all trees. They never let anything stand in their way.
The media can run its stories on the lack of compassion in nursing, but perhaps they should also include a few tales of when nurses’ compassion runneth over
And it isn’t just the weather that tries to keep the nursing team from their patients. One of UCLH’s medical directors Jonathan Fielden tweeted recently during the London Underground strikes about the dedication of a healthcare assistant who had got up before 4am to get into work so that patients had enough staff to look after them. This was despite not getting home the night before until after 11pm.
So the national media can run its stories on the lack of compassion in nursing, but perhaps they should also include a few tales of when nurses’ compassion runneth over - because there have certainly been enough examples of late.
There are plenty of nurses who put their patients first at the expense of their own comfort; some even put their own personal safety at risk to ensure their patients receive the care they need.
Let’s face it, the years of working in under-resourced environments have taught the profession great coping skills - nurses never run low on gritty determination. And when it comes to making sure things get done, even in the most extreme circumstances, you wouldn’t bet against a nurse.
It’s just a shame that the government - and often the media - fail to value that any more.
Jenni Middleton, editor
email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed